Tsuwari: Morning Sickness

13 Jun

I am so sorry for my long absence from blogging. I have been feeling miserable for the past few months. I couldn’t eat much, couldn’t keep down much, lost lots of weight, and had absolutely zero energy to do anything. My children are lucky I fed and clothed them and got them off to school every morning! Maybe some of you can relate.

The happy news is that we are expecting another baby! We can’t wait to see what new adventures being a family of five will bring. And yes, of course, we will be trying to raise this child bilingual too!

I want to dedicate this post to other mothers who may also been suffering from this horrible thing called morning sickness, or tsuwari(つわり). Especially you Japanese-American mommies. I don’t know if any scientific research has been done, but from observing many different women in my life, it seems that Japanese women have it extra hard when it comes to feeling sick when pregnant. I know of several in my circle of friends who were terribly sick the entire 40 weeks of their pregnancies. Most of my Caucasian friends seem to get over it by 12 weeks or so, or they never have it that bad to begin with (of course there are others who are not so lucky).

When I was 12 weeks pregnant, I would read things like, “Your morning sickness should be getting better and going away in the next week or so!” online and in pregnancy books. “Ha!”, I would think. “I think mine is just peaking”. I couldn’t relate to the women who craved ice cream, pickles, and fried chicken. Absolutely NOTHING sounded appetizing or edible to me, not even water.

Then one day I decided to search for remedies on Japanese websites. I typed in something like, “What did you eat when you had morning sickness?/つわりのとき、なにをたべましたか?”. Here are foods that Japanese women like to eat when they are pregnant:

– Cold noodles, like somen, soba, and hiyashi-chuuka

– tomatoes

– watermelon, peaches, nashi (apple-pears), strawberries… can’t begin to tell you how much I wish I could eat momo/もも (peaches from Japan) right now!

– jello, purin, ice, water with lemon



I was relieved to feel that I could probably eat some of those things! I ran to the Asian food store and bought some somen noodles. I think I ate somen for lunch for a week straight. It was great because it only takes 3 minutes to prepare, doesn’t smell, you can eat it cold (hot foods made me extra nauseous), and it goes down easily.

A few weeks later when I was able to eat a little bit more, I started eating hiyashi chuuka (see photo below). I added some tomatoes and cucumbers.

I couldn’t eat most vegetables, but I found that I could eat cold cucumbers dipped in some miso paste. Edamame was how I got some protein into my body since I couldn’t eat meat.

If you become anemic like I did, tofu is a good Japanese food that has iron. You can eat it cold by just pouring some soy sauce over it.


I found that the popular Japanese recipe site, Cookpad, has a bunch of recipes for those suffering from morning sickness. Click HERE to see them! I hope that as you scroll through the recipes, something might sound good to you. For drinks, I found that I could drink water if it has a slice of lemon in it, or I could drink mugicha (cold barley tea).

I found that I was not alone in my aversion to hot rice! It is really hard to think of what to eat when you are used to having rice with almost every meal. Now at 20 weeks pregnant, I am just now able to start eating rice again, in small amounts.

I just find it funny that when I’m pregnant, I want to eat Japanese food, even though I grew up in America eating all kinds of food from different cultures. Is it just that we crave the foods from our childhood, or is there something in our genetic makeup that makes us want food from our “homeland”?



If you have any advice for surviving a hard pregnancy, please post a comment! I know that every woman and pregnancy are different, so not all advice applies to everyone. But it is still nice to hear that we are not alone. I hope to start posting more regularly. I have TWO kids in Japanese School now(busy!). During my morning sickness I survived graduation and the start of a new school year. I am also on the Activities Committee so I’m helping plan Undoukai (Sports Day). I’ve also been checking out some new and wonderful websites that I can’t wait to share with you! Thanks for sticking around!

5 Responses to “Tsuwari: Morning Sickness”

  1. Kelly Canaan June 24, 2014 at 3:16 PM #

    I had つわり, too, until I was about 17 weeks pregnant. 頑張ってね!I am glad I’m done being pregnant. 🙂

    • Hiragana Mama July 2, 2014 at 10:25 PM #

      Thanks! I’ll be so glad to exchange pregnancy for a baby in the end!

  2. Nyasha July 10, 2014 at 4:21 PM #

    Congrats on expecting another child, looks like you’re going to have a big family now 🙂

  3. Nami | Just One Cookbook August 20, 2014 at 2:03 AM #

    うわぁーーーおめでとう!!!! I had really bad morning sickness for both of my children and it scares me to think about the third time (not that we are planning). 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful pregnancy!

  4. Mei October 18, 2014 at 11:18 AM #

    I am so glad I found your blog. I am half Japanese and looking foods to eat while pregnant too. I hope you will include in your blog Japanese baby food. Thank you. I look forward to following and I hope you feel better!

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